A heartfelt congratulations to the class of 2021! It was an honor to witness the happiness and sense of accomplishment of our newest graduates at U-M’s Spring Commencement ceremony, which I attended virtually. One of the lines that stuck with me from a video shared during the ceremony was “No matter where you were, you were always home.” This, along with the opportunity to see so many of the graduates who were attending remotely when their degree was conferred, added a sense of connection with all those celebrating at home.
As we prepare to welcome students back to a more normal school year that is augmented with virtual and hybrid experiences this fall, I challenge everyone in this community to find innovative solutions for creating a cohesive digital experience for those joining in person and remotely. This new approach is critical to our vision for the University of Michigan: to be a leader in the appropriate use of technology among our peers and in the world.
The 2021 Virtual Hacks with Friends event kicked off on Friday, May 7, and every single one of the pitches aims to improve the lived experience at U-M with technology in some way. These ideas and the shared connection in working on them is at the heart of the Michigan IT community and what we do best. I look forward to seeing the results of the hacks! You are all invited to attend the live stream of the final presentations and participate in public voting to select our finalists on Friday, May 21. To learn more, visit the Hacks with Friends website.
I am grateful to all of you who attended the first Leadership in Technology Distinguished Lecture Series event last month with David Goeckeler, CEO at Western Digital, and Michael Wellman, professor and division chair of Computer Science & Engineering at U-M. David talked about grit, adaptability, flexibility, humility and more. For those of you who could not make it, the event was recorded and available on the event web page. We are planning our next Distinguished Lecture event this fall, and I look forward to seeing you there.
Over the past several weeks, I have been working closely with university leadership, faculty, and alumni to help identify ways that the U-M community can support those affected by the unfolding health care catastrophe in India. In his recent statement, President Schlissel shared some of the ways that our community is stepping up, from providing oxygen, to sharing medical expertise, to making donations in support of relief efforts. I am uplifted by and truly grateful for the many, many people who are coming together to help save lives in India.
Thank you for all that you do. I am grateful.
Ravi Pendse PhD
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan